Translation Deflation

| Learning | August 22, 2013

(I work sales for a large education company in Japan. We send foreign English teachers to various high schools in the area to teach once a week. I am trying to sell a new school on our program, and have just finished giving my presentation to a group of parents and teachers. I am a Caucasian American, but I graduated from a Japanese university, and speak the language fluently.)

Me: in Japanese* “So that concludes our presentation. If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer them.”

Teacher: “Yes, excuse me. Why were you speaking Japanese the whole time? It’s a presentation for an English program.”

Me: “That’s a great question. Not everyone studied English in school, so it’s usually easier just to give the presentation myself in Japanese, rather than in English. It also saves us the cost of a translator.”

Teacher: “That’s great, but I just would have really preferred to have you speak in English.”

Me: *switching to English* “Well, I’m sorry for that. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in English, I’d be happy to.”

Teacher: *in Japanese* “Oh, I don’t speak any English at all. I was just curious what it would sound like.”

Me: *in Japanese* “Okay, moving on…”

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